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Resident pleads with city council to pressure GN on beer and wine store

Lew Phillip and Sergeant Darrell Gill speak on the increasing problem in Nunavut’s capital
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“It’s way too much.”

Thirty-year Iqaluit resident Lew Phillip has seen and heard enough about public drinking and related incidents that he was motivated to make a presentation to city council on Jan. 23.

He cast doubt on how helpful Iqaluit’s beer and wine store has been in reducing illegal sales of alcohol.

“I wonder if… you can talk to the government officials who declare ‘Hallelujah’… there will no longer being bootlegging and bootleggers in town, [people] will be drinking at home and there will be less problems, and we heard this from the government when we had a public meeting,” said Phillip, a former police officer and corrections officer. “I am not trying to make any changes, but the Elders as well as the youth have approached me asking for help [from the council].”

Phillip contends that there’s actually been an increase in bootlegging since the beer and wine store opened.

“Young people bootleg alcohol, beer and also wine,” he said. “The youths are practising that for some time. The reason they bootleg is they want hard drugs… there have been alcohol-related incidents that are negative, and we have been receiving calls that there are bootleggers because of the [beer and wine store] purchases. This is not good, this is not positive. We also feel for the children that are being left alone out there who have parents that are drunk that have no place to go. And the second one are Elders who are impaired due to [drinking alcohol] during the day and the night.

Before the beer and wine store opened, it was unusual to see people drunk in public during the day, according to Phillip.

“What I’m trying to say, we need help as Iqaluit residents. Elders [financial] benefits are taken… and we also know that the RCMP are way busier than before… this has become a problem. This is your city,” he told council. “Visitors or tourists when they arrive here, it’s becoming embarrassing to see alcohol containers at the beach area. And the RCMP are not enough to handle this, and it’s very visible now. We voted for you so you could represent us… you have the authority… I am not really sure what to do, but I am relying on you… talk to the Nunavut government, because they stated that there would be less of this or that, but they were wrong… I know that the government is making a lot of money out of the [beer and wine store], but this has become a problem.”

The RCMP perspective

RCMP Staff Sgt. Darrell Gill, who was just starting his third week as the new detachment commander for the Iqaluit RCMP, shared with council the police force’s statistics from November and December 2023.

Two-thirds of those 1,881 calls — 968 in November and 918 in December — involved alcohol. The total number of calls for the year was 12,343.

Mayor Solomon Awa commented, “We are thinking about this issue and continue to think… we have been aware and we hear the RCMP reports on a monthly basis. This is good food for thought. Thank you.”

The RCMP did not immediately have access to comparable statistics from the period prior to the opening of the beer and wine store in Iqaluit in 2017.

“ᐅᖓᑎᓗᐊᖓᓅᖅᑐᖅ.”

30 ᐅᑭᐅᓂᑦ ᐃᖃᓗᖕᒥᐅᑕᐅᓕᖅᑐᖅ ᓘ ᐱᓕᑉ ᑕᑯᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓈᒻᒪᒃᑐᓂᒃ ᑐᓴᖅᓯᒪᑉᓗᓂ ᑭᑐᑐᐃᓐᓇᐃᑦ ᐃᒥᖅᑐᓂᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᒥᖅᓯᒪᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᖃᓄᐃᓕᓂᐅᔪᓂᒃ ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᒋᑉᓗᒍ ᑕᑯᑎᑦᑎᔪᒪᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᓄᓇᓕᐸᐅᔭᕐᒥᑦ ᑲᑎᒪᔨᓄᑦ ᑕᖅᖀᓐᓇᕐᔪᐊᖅ 23-ᒥᑦ.

ᖃᐅᔨᑎᑦᑎᔪᖅ ᐅᒃᐱᕆᙱᓐᓂᕋᖅᖢᒍ ᐃᑲᔪᐃᓂᖃᖅᓯᒪᓂᖓ ᐃᖃᓗᖕᓂᑦ ᐃᒥᐊᓗᒃᑖᕐᕕᒃ ᒥᒃᖠᒋᐊᖅᓯᑎᑦᑎᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᒪᓕᒐᒃᑯᑦ ᓯᖁᒥᑦᑎᑉᓗᑎᒃ ᓂᐅᕕᐊᒃᓴᖃᖃᑦᑕᕐᓂᒃ ᐃᒥᐊᓗᖕᓂᑦ.

“ᐃᓱᒪᔪᖓ ᐃᒪᓐᓇᐃᒻᒪᖔᑦ… ᒐᕙᒪᒃᑯᑦ ᐃᖅᖃᓇᐃᔭᖅᑎᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᐅᖃᓪᓚᒍᖕᓇᕐᒪᖔᖅᐱᑦ ‘ᕼᐋᓕᓘᔭ’-ᖑᓂᕋᐃᓚᐅᖅᑐᓂᒃ… ᒪᓕᒐᒃᑯᑦ ᓯᖁᒥᑦᑎᑉᓗᑎᒃ ᐃᒥᐊᓗᖕᓂᑦ ᓂᐅᕕᐊᒃᓴᖃᖃᑦᑕᕐᓂᖅ ᓄᖅᖃᕐᓂᐊᕐᓂᕋᖅᖢᒍ ᓄᓇᓕᖕᒥᑦ, [ᐃᓄᐃᑦ] ᐊᖏᕐᕋᖏᓐᓂᑦ ᐃᒥᖃᑦᑕᕐᓗᑎᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᖢᐃᓗᑕᖅᑕᖃᓗᐊᖏᓐᓂᖅᓴᐅᓗᓂ, ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᑐᓴᓚᐅᖅᑕᕗᑦ ᒐᕙᒪᒃᑯᓐᓂᑦ ᑭᑐᑐᐃᓐᓇᓂᒃ ᑲᑎᒪᑎᑦᑎᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ,” ᐅᖃᖅᑐᖅ ᐱᓕᑉ, ᐳᑭᖅᑕᓕᐅᖃᑦᑕᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑎᒍᔭᐅᓯᒪᔪᓕᕆᔨᐅᑉᓗᓂ. “ᖃᓄᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅ ᐊᓯᐊᙳᖅᑎᕆᓇᓱᙱᑦᑐᖓ, ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᐃᓐᓇᕆᔭᐅᔪᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᒪᒃᑯᒃᑐᐃᑦ ᐅᕙᒻᓄᙵᐅᖃᑦᑕᖅᑐᑦ ᐃᑲᔪᖅᑕᐅᔪᒪᑉᓗᑎᒃ [ᓄᓇᓕᐸᐅᔭᕐᒥᑦ ᑲᑎᒪᔨᒃᑯᓐᓂᑦ].”

ᐱᓕᑉ ᐅᖃᖅᑐᖅ ᐊᖏᒡᓕᒋᐊᕐᓂᖅᓴᐅᓂᖓ ᒪᓕᒐᒃᑯᑦ ᓯᖁᒥᑦᑎᑉᓗᑎᒃ ᐃᒥᐊᓗᖕᓂᑦ ᓂᐅᕕᐊᒃᓴᖃᖃᑦᑕᖅᑐᑦ ᑕᐃᒪᙵᓂᑦ ᐃᒥᐊᓗᒃᑖᕐᕕᒃ ᐅᒃᑯᐃᕐᒪᑦ.

“ᒪᒃᑯᒃᑐᐃᑦ ᓂᐅᕕᐊᒃᓴᖃᖃᑦᑕᖅᑐᑦ ᐃᒥᐊᓗᖕᓂᑦ, ᐱᐊᓂᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐅᐊᓂᓂᒡᓗ,” ᐅᖃᖅᑐᖅ. “ᐊᑯᓂᐊᕐᔫᓕᖅᑐᖅ ᒪᒃᑯᒃᑐᐃᑦ ᑕᐃᒪᓐᓇᐃᓕᐅᓕᖅᑐᑦ. ᐱᔾᔪᑕᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᒥᐊᓗᖕᓂᒃ ᓂᐅᕕᐊᒃᓴᖃᖃᑦᑕᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐊᓯᖏᓐᓂᑦ ᐋᖓᔮᕐᓇᖅᑐᓂᒃ ᓴᙱᔪᓂᒃ ᐱᔪᒪᖕᒪᑕ… ᐃᒥᐊᓗᖕᒥᑦ ᐱᔪᓂᒃ ᖃᓄᐃᓕᓂᖅᑕᖃᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᐱᑦᑕᐅᖏᑦᑐᓂᒃ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐅᖃᓗᒡᕕᐅᖃᑦᑕᖅᑐᒍᑦ ᐃᒥᐊᓗᖕᓂᑦ ᓂᐅᕕᐊᒃᓴᖃᖅᑐᓂᒃ [ᐃᒥᐊᓗᒃᑖᕐᕕᖕᒥᑦ] ᓂᐅᕕᖅᑕᐅᔪᓂᒃ. ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᓈᒻᒪᖏᑦᑐᖅ, ᐱᐅᔫᖏᑦᑐᖅ. ᐃᒃᐱᒋᔾᔪᑎᒋᖕᒥᔭᕗᑦ ᓱᕈᓰᑦ ᑭᓯᕐᒥᐅᖅᑎᑕᐅᖃᑦᑕᖅᑐᑦ ᐊᖏᔪᖅᖄᖏᑦ ᐋᖓᔮᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓇᒧᙵᐅᕝᕕᒃᓴᖃᖃᑦᑕᙱᑦᑐᑦ. ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐱᖃᑖ ᐃᓐᓇᕆᔭᐅᔪᑦ ᐋᖓᔮᖅᑐᑦ [ᐃᒥᐊᓗᖕᒥᑦ ᐃᒥᖅᓯᒪᓂᕐᒥᑦ] ᐅᑉᓗᒃᑯᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐅᓐᓄᒃᑯᑦ.

ᐃᒥᐊᓗᒃᑖᕐᕕᒃ ᐅᒃᑯᐃᓚᐅᖏᑎᓪᓗᒍ, ᑕᑯᓐᓇᓚᐅᖏᑦᑐᖅ ᐋᖓᔮᖅᑐᓂᒃ ᑕᑯᔭᐅᖃᑦᑕᖅᑐᓂᒃ ᓇᓂᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅ ᐅᑉᓗᒃᑯᑦ, ᐅᖃᖅᑐᖅ ᐱᓕᑉ.

“ᐅᖃᕋᓱᒃᑐᖓ, ᐃᑲᔪᖅᑕᐅᔭᕆᐊᖃᖅᑐᒍᑦ ᐃᖃᓗᖕᒥᐅᑕᐅᑉᓗᑕ. ᐃᓐᓇᕆᔭᐅᔪᑦ [ᑮᓇᐅᔭᖏᑦ] ᐃᔫᑎᖏᑦ ᐱᔭᐅᖃᑦᑕᖅᑐᑦ… ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᖕᒥᔪᒍᑦ ᐳᑭᖅᑕᓖᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᓂᖅᓴᑦᑎᐊᖑᓕᖅᑐᑦ… ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᐃᖢᐃᓗᑕᙳᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ. ᓄᓇᓕᐸᐅᔭᕆᔭᓯ,” ᐅᖃᐅᑎᔭᖏᑦ ᓄᓇᓕᐸᐅᔭᒃᑯᑦ ᑲᑎᒪᔨᖏᑦ. “ᑕᑯᔭᖅᑐᐃᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᐅᕝᕙᓘᓐᓃᑦ ᐳᓚᕋᖅᑏᑦ ᑎᑭᒃᑳᖓᑕ ᑕᒡᕗᖓ, ᑲᙳᓇᖅᓯᔪᖅ ᑕᑯᖃᑦᑕᖅᖢᒋᑦ ᐃᒥᐊᓘᓯᕝᕖᑦ ᓯᒡᔭᒦᑦᑐᑦ. ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐳᑭᖅᑕᓖᑦ ᓈᒻᒪᓂᙱᓕᖅᑐᑦ ᑲᒪᒋᓂᐊᕐᓗᒍ ᑕᒪᓐᓇ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᑦᑎᐊᓕᖅᑐᖅ. ᓂᕈᐊᓚᐅᖅᑕᑉᑎᒋᑦ ᐅᕙᑉᑎᖕᓂᑦ ᑭᒡᒐᖅᑐᐃᔪᖕᓇᕐᓂᐊᕋᑉᓯ… ᐱᔪᖕᓇᖅᑎᑦᑎᓂᖃᖅᑐᓯ… ᖃᓄᐃᓕᐅᕆᐊᒃᓴᖅ ᓇᓗᔪᖓ, ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᐃᓕᑉᓯᖕᓄᑦ ᐃᑲᔪᖅᑕᐅᔪᒪᔪᖓ… ᐅᖃᓪᓚᖃᑎᒋᓗᒋᑦ ᓄᓇᕗᒻᒥ ᒐᕙᒪᒃᑯᑦ, ᐅᖃᓚᐅᕐᒪᑕ ᐱᑕᖃᓗᐊᖏᓐᓂᖅᓴᐅᓂᐊᓕᖅᑐᖅ ᐆᒥᙵᑦ ᐅᑯᓂᙵᓪᓘᓐᓃᑦ, ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᑕᒻᒪᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ… ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔪᖓ ᒐᕙᒪᒃᑯᑦ ᑮᓇᐅᔭᓕᐅᑦᑎᐊᖅᑐᑦ [ᐃᒥᐊᓗᒃᑖᕐᕕᖕᒥᑦ], ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᐃᖢᐃᓗᑕᙳᖅᓯᒪᓕᖅᑐᖅ.”

ᐳᑭᖅᑕᓕᒃ ᑎᐅᕈᓪ ᒋᐅᓪ, ᐱᖓᓱᖓᓂᑦ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᕈᓯᕆᓕᓵᖅᑕᖓ ᓄᑖᖑᑉᓗᓂ ᐊᖏᔪᖅᖄᕆᔭᐅᔪᖅ ᐳᑭᖅᑕᓕᖕᓄᑦ ᐃᖃᓗᖕᓂᑦ, ᓄᓇᓕᐸᐅᔭᐅᑉ ᑲᑎᒪᔨᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᑕᑯᑎᑦᑎᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᐳᑭᖅᑕᓕᒃᑯᑦ ᓈᓴᐅᑎᓕᕆᓂᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᑲᑕᒑᕆᕝᕕᖕᒥᑦ ᐋᒡᔪᓕᕐᕕᖕᒧᑦ 2023-ᒥᑦ.

ᐃᓗᐃᑦᑑᔪᖅ ᐱᖓᓱᓄᑦ ᐊᕕᒡᓗᒍ ᑕᒡᕙᙵᑦ ᒪᕐᕉᔪᑦ 1,881-ᖑᔪᓂ ᐅᖃᓗᒍᑕᐅᔪᓂᑦ - 968-ᖑᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ ᑲᑕᒑᕆᕝᕕᖕᒥᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ 918-ᖑᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ ᐋᒡᔪᓕᕐᕕᖕᒥᑦ - ᐃᒥᐊᓗᖕᒥᑦ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᖃᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ. ᑲᑎᖦᖢᒋᑦ ᐅᖃᓗᖃᑦᑕᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ ᐅᑭᐅᕐᒥᑦ 12,343-ᖑᔪᑦ.

ᒪᐃᔭ ᓵᓚᒪᓐ ᐊᕙ ᐅᖃᖅᑐᖅ, “ᐃᓱᒪᒃᓴᖅᓯᐅᕈᑎᒋᔭᕗᑦ ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᓱᒪᒃᓴᖅᓯᐅᕈᑎᒌᓐᓇᖅᑕᕗᑦ… ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔪᒍᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑐᓴᖃᑦᑕᖅᑕᕗᑦ ᐳᑭᖅᑕᓖᑦ ᐅᓂᑉᑳᕆᖃᑦᑕᖅᑕᖏᑦ ᑕᖅᕿᑕᒫᒃᑯᑦ. ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᐃᓱᒪᒋᔭᒃᓴᑦᑎᐊᕙᐅᔪᖅ. ᓇᑯᕐᒦᒃ.”